Retail in profile

by | Apr 21, 2017

More than anything else, new companies and growing brands need exposure to get a chance to break into the national market. You might offer same-day shipping, a top-notch service department and great products, but unless you expand sales channels and trading partners, you’ll remain unknown. At the same time, many retailers are searching for emerging suppliers that can support growing online sales and direct-to-consumer shipments. However, finding new partners at tradeshows is expensive, and Google searches rarely do the trick of materializing pertinent results with relevant information needed for wholesale business.

Creating a comprehensive business profile only takes a short while on the right platform, but pays dividends in terms of getting noticed by retailers who want to know what vendors can do before opening channels of communication. Having clear explanation of products, capabilities and services means streamlined trading partner agreement negotiations since this information is available before the conversation starts. There are a few critical elements to include in your vendor profile that will make vendor searching and validating easy.

  1. Your company story: Include media like videos, lifestyle photos, and social. Provide information about your company’s size, growth, and vision.
  2. Fulfillment capabilities: With more fulfillment channels becoming available daily, it’s important to highlight the type of order management models you support and how quickly you can fulfill orders.
  3. Technology capabilities: The speed in which you set up new vendors is critical in today’s fast-paced retail environment. Include electronic fulfillment, inventory feeds, and high-quality images.
  4. Geographic information: As retailers expand into international markets, they are also interested in vendors that can ship to other geographic regions. Information about warehouse locations also matter to retailers that want to offer short shipment times to consumers.
  5. Specialty information: Finally, don’t neglect unique elements of your business that conscious-minded consumers care about.
  6. Contacts: Don’t make it difficult to find the right person at your organization to start a partnership conversation. Clearly identify people within your organization for partners to contact.

With a coherent vendor profile, retailers won’t hesitate in reaching out to gauge your interest in starting a partnership. Though growing your e-commerce business efficiently with multiple partners also requires high quality item data and images. When evaluating new drop-ship relationships, retailers want to know a lot about the items themselves. Keeping this information consistently updated will make your process for connecting with additional trading partners that much easier. Here are some key item attributes to gather and maintain as you get serious about growing through e-commerce:

  1. Item identifiers: Make sure that you keep items classified with a SKU, and more and more retailers are requiring UPCs on all items sold through their websites or on marketplaces.
  2. Cost and price information: To evaluate the competitiveness of your item assortment, retailers want to know the margin they can expect for selling your products.
  3. Shipping information: In direct-to-consumer sales, shipping costs are a significant factor in margins and pricing. Provide weight, dimensions of the product when boxed, and other handling information such as fragile items.
  4. Images: The process for getting items added to an e-commerce store also requires providing high-quality images of the product. By providing item images and lifestyle photos, you can guarantee control of your brand image when selling through retail websites and online marketplaces.

You’ll be most efficient in negotiations and onboarding new retail trading partners if you store this information electronically and ideally in a secure online location. In fact, more and more retailers are requiring that you do so. If you don’t have this information right now, and want to pull it together, our team of assortment specialists can help you gather, upload, and maintain this information in a secure online location—no website required!

As you’re planning your SPS Commerce In:fluence 2017 experience, there’s 10 minutes of time that you should think about spending – pre-schedule a meeting at our booth to set up your vendor profile and learn how building your profile can set you up for success, both now and in the future.

Jonah Hacker

Program Manager, Sourcing at SPS Commerce
Jonah is a Program Manager for the SPS Commerce Sourcing product. In this role he's responsible for connecting great brands with retailers looking to expand their product assortment. Prior to joining SPS Commerce he worked for several years as an educator. Outside of work, Jonah is a bassist in a country band, cooks a lot, and loves traveling.
Jonah Hacker

Latest posts by Jonah Hacker (see all)